It's been a pretty good month so far what with Thanksgiving and all the pumpkin pie and squash and mashed potatoes and juicy turkey and did I mention pumpkin pie?
Besides all the gluttony I got to partake in, I also got accepted into the Humber School for Writers for their correspondence program! What that means is that by the end of the program, I will have finished the first draft of the novel I've been working on for the past while. Exciting!
It's also a good month because next week I'm going up to my cottage for a long weekend and having a third Thanksgiving dinner with my cousin who couldn't make it to the family jam, which means there will be loads more turkey and pie and I'm thinking of making a pumpkin cheesecake for the occasion (look out for that blog post in the future).
I didn't make pumpkin pie for the family dinner because my aunt Ruthie is the Pie Queen and she made two delicious pumpkin pecan pies while I contributed butter tarts to the mix.
I used to be really intimidated by pie crust; so much can go wrong! But this butter tart recipe makes it really easy to put the crust together and it doesn't have to sit in the freezer for hours. (Unless I'm making a recipe from Julia Child's cookbook, I want to be finished in an hour tops.)
The first time I made them, I didn't add any nuts to the mix (and don't even talk to me about raisins, they are the devil's food) but this time, my boyfriend suggested adding walnuts and damnit he was right because they made the tarts so much better.
Mmmm buttery tart goodness.
Butter Tarts (makes 12)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, ver cold and cut into small cubes
- 3 to 5 tbsp of ice water
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup light cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- pinch salt
- two handfuls of walnuts
To make the pastry:
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix with a handmixer for a few seconds until combined. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal or breadcrumbs. As you're mixing, pour the water in a steady stream just until the dough holds together when pinched. You may not need all the water, but if necessary, add a bit more. Don't overprocess the dough.
Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk. Cover it well with the wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to four days. The dough can also be frozen at this point for future use.
When ready to use, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to warm up before rolling out on a floured surface. Cut the dough into 12 4-inch rounds and gently place the rounds into a 12 cup muffin tin. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up the dough.
To make the filling:
In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, vinegar and cream. Beat until the mixture looks smooth and silky.
Place a spoonful of walnuts in the bottom of each tart shell and then spoon the filling on top, filling them to just under the rim - if you fill the cups too full, the mixture will bubble out and over the tops during baking.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the pastry has nicely browned and the filling is set. Cool the muffin tin on a wire wrack for 10 to 15 minutes before gently removing the tarts. Serve warm.